House Continues to Attack Immigrants, Economy with Mandatory E-Verify Bill

Wednesday, June 15, 2011. BOSTON — Represenatative Lamar Smith today introduced the Legal Workforce Act, legislation that would require all employers to use the badly flawed electronic employment eligibility verification system known as “E-Verify”.  This system and the database it uses are so full of errors that mandating the program would send an estimated 770,000 legal workers to the unemployment line, unable to obtain new work because of the errors in the system. Mandatory E-Verify would send an additional 3 million legal American workers, most of them US Citizens, to their local Social Security offices to correct mistakes in their files. Many of these people would have to make multiple trips to Social Security in order to bring the necessary documents. The resulting loss of wages would cost American workers hundreds of millions of dollars in income at a time when many families are struggling to get by. To add insult to injury, the bill would even limit the legal remedies of the millions who would be wrongly fired because of errors in the system.

Mandating E-Verify would also be an unnecessary burden on businesses which would see a stark increase in administrative costs and lost productivity as workers would need time off to correct errors in their files.

Experience has shown America that these types of enforcement-only approaches do nothing to fix our broken immigration system. In the past, most proposals from nativist forces have been a costly waste while providing no benefit. Whether it is the initial requirement that immigrants obtain work authorization, the vast increase in the categories of deportable offenses, the border fence, or the next useless idea out of these people, the problem has always been with the basic immigration system, not with our enforcement of such system. Arizona is indicative of the problems with this approach; they mandated use of E-Verify to no effect, following it up two years later with passage of the controversial and economically damaging SB1070.

“What we are seeing is another feeble attempt at pushing a failed enforcement-only approach to fixing our broken immigration system,” said Eva Millona, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition. “Rather than focusing on helping our communities in these trying times, this short-sighted legislation looks to weaken our economic base and drive many of our smaller companies out of business. It is stunning to me that many in Congress would seek to fix our broken laws through poorly thought-out, inefficient strategies aimed at enforcing those same broken laws. ”